No, there is no mistaking the Yellow Store at the foot of The Rigolets bridge on Chef Menteur Highway for the Sistine Chapel.
The local bar has everything a friendly watering hole would want – neon Budweiser signs, a video poker room and table-top Bud Light containers holding bottles of ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, menus and napkins.
But on Sept. 8, stained glass windows aside, about 150 Catholics living in Venetian Isles, Lake St. Catherine, Irish Bayou and The Rigolets gathered for Mass celebrated by Archbishop Gregory Aymond.
“This was the last area of the archdiocese that was damaged by Hurricane Isaac that I was able to get to, and I wanted to be sure to get there,” Archbishop Aymond said.
Father MichaelJoseph Nguyen, pastor of Resurrection of Our Lord Church, has pastoral care of the area and said many residents had sustained water damage from Isaac. They were grateful for the archbishop’s presence.
“He used the Gospel of the day about the healing of the deaf man, where Jesus somehow connected with the deaf man and responded to him,” Father MichaelJoseph said. “It’s the same with us. God wants to connect with us always, but how do we respond to him and how can we be open to his presence? God wants to connect with our lives after the storm.”
Father MichaelJoseph said the former St. Nicholas of Myra Church in Lake St. Catherine, which was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina, may be restored at least to the point where a Sunday Mass could be celebrated on a regular basis.
People in that area have had to travel to Resurrection for Sunday Mass.
“My dream is to have it ready before Thanksgiving,” he said.
Peter Finney Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.